The Middle East and North Africa region is gravely suffering from the proliferation of weapons. The bombing of towns and cities has become a common practice in armed conflicts across the region, causing heavy civilian casualties and the destruction of schools, homes, hospitals, markets, and other infrastructure necessary for human life. There is also widespread availability of guns and other small arms that wreck havoc during and after conflicts. Women often suffer the gravely and disproportionately from the use of explosive weapons in populated areas, they also bear the brunt of small arms violence, especially when guns are brought home exacerbating domestic violence and during and after conflicts.
WILPF’s work in countering arms proliferation
WILPF monitors and analyses the impact of international arms trade that fuels conflict in the MENA region on civilian population, particularly women and girls. We track where the weapons come from, who uses them, who is killed or injured by them, and how they change the lives of women and girls. We also advocate to stop the transfer of arms that facilitate and increase human rights violations on the national and international levels and expose those profiteering from violence in the MENA region.
WILPF has therefore created a toolkit on Weapons, War and Women in the MENA Regionto analyse the flow of arms into countries in conflict, particularly Iraq, Libya, Syria and Yemen, and underscore how they impact the lives of civilians and women disproportionately.
Why is this toolkit unique?
Although many other resources highlight the impact that arms transfers have on civilians during conflict, this toolkit gives particular emphasis on the gendered dimensions of arms transfer that regularly goes unnoticed. In that sense, the toolkit seeks to highlight how arms transfers to governments and other armed actors in the region can be linked to gender-based violence and inflict disproportionate effects on women.
Disclaimer: It is important to note that the numbers included in the infographics and video are not meant to be comprehensive to all warring parties in the conflict countries under study. Our dedicated team has included credible resources only, and given that no reliable information could be obtained for non-State armed groups, we were unable to reflect those in all the materials of the toolkit. Users can however find more elaborated information on some non-State armed groups in the webinar.
The toolkit is composed of the following:
1.Webinar in Arabic that seeks to examine arms transfers to governments and other armed actors in the MENA region, discuss key arms transfers and their connection to bombing of towns and cities and other populated areas, as well as to gender-based violence, and highlight some of the challenges of tracking these arms transfers, and look at international efforts to stop them.
2.Infographic in Arabic and English that aims to expose arms transfers, military expenditures and types of weapons imported to Iraq, Libya, Syria and Yemen, and shed the light on what their devastating effects are in terms of casualties, humanitarian need, sexual and gender-based violence, and displacement.
3. Video in Arabic with subtitles in English that serves as an informative tool to highlight the gendered impacts of arms transfers using an interactive and user-friendly technique, which not only translates the message in a simplified language but is also easy to share on social media and other platforms.
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